It remained subject to foreign influence and intervention throughout the 19th century, with the military playing a recurring role in domestic politics.
A series of economic crises put an end to a democratic period that had begun in the early 20th century, culminating in a 1973 coup, which established a civic-military dictatorship.
The military government persecuted leftists, socialists, and political opponents, resulting in several deaths and numerous instances of torture by the military; the military relinquished power to a civilian government in 1985.
Uruguay is today a democratic constitutional republic, with a president who serves as both head of state and head of government.
Montevideo was founded as a military stronghold by the Spanish in the early 18th century, signifying the competing claims over the region.
Uruguay won its independence between 18, following a four-way struggle between Spain, Portugal, and later Argentina and Brazil.
The siege of Montevideo was lifted and the Guerra Grande finally came to an end.
In 1865, the Triple Alliance was formed by the emperor of Brazil, the president of Argentina, and the Colorado general Venancio Flores, the Uruguayan head of government whom they both had helped to gain power.
Its natural harbor soon developed into a commercial area competing with Río de la Plata's capital, Buenos Aires.The political scene in Uruguay became split between two parties: the conservative Blancos (Whites) headed by the second President Manuel Oribe, representing the agricultural interests of the countryside; and the liberal Colorados (Reds) led by the first President Fructuoso Rivera, representing the business interests of Montevideo.The Uruguayan parties received support from warring political factions in neighbouring Argentina, which became involved in Uruguayan affairs.The Colorados favored the exiled Argentine liberal Unitarios, many of whom had taken refuge in Montevideo while the Blanco president Manuel Oribe was a close friend of the Argentine ruler Manuel de Rosas.
On 15 June 1838, an army led by the Colorado leader Rivera overthrew President Oribe, who fled to Argentina.
The first permanent Spanish settlement was founded in 1624 at Soriano on the Río Negro.